Learning Patience

The world tells us that we are in control of our lives.  It is our way right away.  If we have to wait then something is wrong.  Unfortunately, those of us who have bought these lies end up in a world of frustration, anger, and disappointment.

This may be why the Bible teaches us to learn patience.  One writer defines patience as “you are not in control.”  Learning patience under this definition can save us a lot of stress from fretting over things that are beyond our control.

Christians who understand, learn, and allow patience to be worked into their character through a disciplined cooperation with the sanctification of the Holy Spirit will find their faith strengthened, even in the most faith-trying circumstances.  Patience works out a reliance on and trust in the Person of Christ and not on our own self-effort (though this doesn’t mean we become lazy).

Here is the article, Patience: You are Not in Control by Dave Dorr:

Patience is not a virtue that jumps out at us with any real urgency. Can patience really be pursued in a culture centered around results, especially quick success?

Kill your control

Evangelical church culture is no better. We revere the fastest growing churches. We marvel at men and women who show incredible gifts at an early age. But what about patience? We might not be paying much attention, but God certainly is.

God is the gardener of our lives; one of the choicest fruits he wants to plant in us is patience. This fruit cannot grow without breaking up the hard soil: our desire for control.

At peace with being powerless

Power is the root issue with patience. We are impatient when our lack of power obstructs our will. If we want to get through the checkout line at the grocery quickly, but only one lane is open, we get agitated—agitated by our lack of control.

What patience really is

So what is patience? Patience is understanding the settled reality that we are not in control. We are at peace with the fact that life is run by someone else. When we are patient we are paddling downstream, letting the force of life guide us along, knowing we can steer, but not turn upstream. Impatience is turning the boat, rowing hard against the current; we still move downstream, but with incredible exhaustion.

We want more control than we have. But God wants patience to permeate our inner being. Why? Not just because life and its trials will require patience, but we need to reconcile our souls to our lack of control, trusting that God is good. If God is good and he is in control, then we can trust the satisfaction or obstruction of our will is the good design of a loving and gracious Father.

And that is worth the wait.


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